From A-B Tech:
A-B Tech Community College is one of seven colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its spring 2013 “Models of Efficiency” national recognition program.
The Models of Efficiency program recognizes innovative approaches for streamlining higher education operations through technology and/or business process improvements.
“Slow, manual processes similar to A-B Tech’s former system are rampant today in student services departments in colleges across the nation,” said Tim Goral, editor in chief of University Business. “We applaud the school’s Student Services division for its efforts in turning that around, both for improving wait-time efficiency and for increasing student satisfaction.” To eliminate long wait times in student services departments such as admissions, advising, financial aid, and the registrar’s office, A-B Tech decided to follow the Department of Motor Vehicles model, where requests are centralized and each person is given a number, then is seated until their number appears on an LCD screen. Inspired by the efficiency and simplicity of the DMV waiting process, in 2008, A-B Tech’s Student Services Division bought a Q-Flow software package—a customer flow and queuing platform that helps manage wait times, from ACF Technologies. Now, after signing in at the kiosk and answering a few questions about the purpose of their visit, students receive printed directions with a call number and an approximate wait time. While waiting, students can work on nearby computers, visit the career center, or do some shopping in the campus bookstore, where a loudspeaker system announces the number being served. If multiple advisors need to be seen, staff can transfer students from one service to another, slotting them according to their original arrival time. Additionally, information about the reason for each student’s visit can be forwarded ahead to the next advisor, prepping them before the student walks in the door. As of spring 2013 registration, the financial aid office saw an average of 110 students a day with a peak of 264 one day. The average wait time has been reduced from 21.5 minutes to 8.5 minutes. The personal attention and shorter wait times have helped to reduce student complaints and has saved A-B Tech about $40,000 a year. In addition to Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, spring 2013 Models of Efficiency honorees include: Creighton University (Neb.); Johnson County Community College (Kan.); Loyola University Chicago (Ill.); Miami Dade College (Fla.), which was honored for two efforts; University of Wisconsin-Stout, also honored for two efforts; and Valdosta State University (Ga.).
The program is sponsored by Higher One, a leading company that offers a wide array of technological services on campus, ranging from streamlining the institution’s performance analytics and financial aid refund processes to offering students innovative banking services, tuition payment plans, and the basics of financial management. Higher One works closely with colleges and universities to allocate resources more efficiently to provide a higher quality of service and education to students. “With each year we are involved with this award, I am impressed with the increasing efforts of higher ed institutions who take creative initiatives to streamlining their operations to generate both financial as well as service improvements for students,” said Miles Lasater, co-founder and COO of Higher One. “We are proud to stand with University Business to support and recognize the spring 2013 Models of Efficiency winners.”